Green Gumbo, Gumbo z’herbes

Gumbo z’herbes is  a tricky and controversial subject to many,  ask any five people who insist they know what Gumbo z’herbes is, or exactly how Gumbo z’herbes is made, and you’ll get at least 5 or more explanations of what it is, and 5 or more different authentic recipes. It’s like arguing with 5 diva food artists; their way is the only way because that’s the authentic way to make Gumbo z’herbes.

Green Gumbo, Gumbo z’herbes is a traditional Holy Thursday meal for Creole families in New Orléans, the Nine Greens are said to represent the Nine Churches visited on Good Friday in remembrance of Jesus’ walk to be crucified

Green Gumbo, aka Gumbo z’herbes, is always made with various garden greens, which is different from the normal go-to idea Creole Gumbo.  In fact, the more various more greens added to the pot, the merrier. Ms. Leah Chase, the Queen of kick-ass Gumbo z’herbes, has been known in the past for stating, one should always stick to an odd number of greens in  Gumbo z’herbes;  even numbers are said to be bad luck according to folklore passed down the generations.


green-gumbo1Personally, I think I trust Ms. Leah Chase’s recipe the most out of all the recipes I have come across over the years, being she has always packed the house at Dooky Chase’s on Orléans Avenue in the past with her recipe. However, I have, to be honest, we all know that we can try to imitate that lovely ladies recipe, but we are never going to duplicate perfection. Hands down she has the golden touch for Gumbo z’herbes.

green-gumboI could go on and on about Leah Chase’s cooking and the history behind the Dooky Chase restaurant on Orléans Avenue; because there is truly such an amazing story behind it all; I totally implore you to read up on it and see for yourself first hand how many wonderful things that happened over the years in her and her husband’s establishment. I promise you will be just as enamored by the history as I am.

green-gumbo-gumbo-zherbes-recipe-pinterestI love Leah Chase’s recipe for Green Gumbo but decided to use the one our family enjoys instead. If you are looking for her recipe you can easily Google it on the net and I am sure you’ll locate it fairly easily.

Green Gumbo, Gumbo z’herbes

  • 1 gallon of salted water
  • 3 – 4 pounds of assorted greens such as collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, spinach, watercress, chicory, arugula, green romaine lettuce chopped, sorrel, beet tops, peppergrass, kale, or endive
  • 1 bunch green onions chopped
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs of French tarragon
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of Cajun Seasoning or more
  • Kosher Salt to own taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to own taste
  • cayenne pepper to own taste
  • 1 large smoked ham hock, optional
  • 6 tablespoons self-rising flour
  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil or bacon grease
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 4 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1  pound hot chaurice sausage
  • 1 pound andouille sausage
  • 2 pounds of gulf shrimp
  • 4 cups of cooked long-grain white rice, to serve


  1. Wash the assorted greens such as: such as collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, spinach, watercress, chicory, arugula, green romaine lettuce chopped, sorrel, beet tops, peppergrass, kale, or endive thoroughly and remove all stems or hard centers. Remember the more the different types of greens used the better the flavor of your Green Gumbo.
  2. Bring one gallon of water to a full boil in a large stockpot, add 1 large smoked ham hock, 2 bay leave, 6 sprigs of tarragon, 4 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of Cajun Seasoning or more, Kosher Salt,  freshly ground black pepper, and Cayenne pepper to own taste.
  3.  Add the assorted greens, chopped green onions, Ham hock, and flat leaf parsley to the seasoned boiling water,  boil the assorted greens in the seasoned water for about 1 hour.
  4. In a cast iron skillet sauté the diced onions, diced green bell pepper, garlic, and sliced celery; sauté for 5 minutes.
  5. Make a light honey colored roux of the self-rising flour and peanut oil or bacon grease. Careful not to burn the roux or you will need to start the roux over.
  6. Add the sautéed vegetables, roux, the sliced Chaurice sausage, and andouille to the stockpot to cook for about 45 minutes longer.
  7. In the last stage of cooking add 2 pounds of gulf shrimp to the gumbo pot and turn off the heat, let sit for about 8 minutes before serving to finish cooking the shrimp.
  8. Serve in large gumbo bowls. Put 1/2 cup of rice in each bowl, and ladle generous amounts of Green gumbo over it.

Yield: 10 servings

© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2018 – 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material or photos without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. You may not copy and paste recipes to share on Social Platforms.


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